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Immunohistochemistry Services


As part of the Kinexus suite of integrated proteomics services, our Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Services permit clients to track the spatial locations of specific target proteins and phosphoproteins in tissues and cells. Many signalling proteins display specificity in their tissue distribution and undergo changes in their subcellular location during their regulation. Our IHC Services are a natural follow on from our Kinetworks™ immunoblotting services, and facilitate analysis of target protein expression and phosphorylation. Clients can select from a large panel of over 800 high specificity antibodies that are available from Kinexus or submit their own antibodies for use with our Immunohistochemistry Services. Clients can ship either frozen or paraffin-embedded tissue and cell samples for analysis. Alternatively, clients can choose from a panel of diverse tissues that are already available from Kinexus on slides that are ready for staining. We aim to perform the tissue sectioning, slide preparation, blotting and image scanning at the most competitive rates in the industry. However, a minimum of 10 slides must be ordered to use this labour intensive service.

IHC Service Options

Immunohistochemistry is a technique that allows for the spatial localization of specific proteins within tissues. The principle behind IHC is a specific antibody binding to a specific epitope on the antigen in the native form of the protein of interest in a tissue section. Due to the variations that can arise between antigens and their corresponding antibodies, as well as the accessibility of the epitope(s), a myriad of IHC protocols have been and are currently being developed. Our experienced staff remains at the forefront of this technology, keeping up-to-date with the very latest IHC techniques, as well as actively developing our own protocols. Due to this expertise, our IHC program can be tailored to your needs. We offer two IHC services. For the first, our standard IHC service, a client needs to indicate the primary antibody dilution or concentration that is desired to be used in our standardized protocol on the tissue of interest. For our second service, our IHC protocol development service, a client informs us of which antibody is to be used for IHC for the tissue of interest, and we will develop an optimized protocol for antibody staining. This protocol can then be applied to the entire experiment. Completion by a client of a Service Order Form (IHC-SOF-01) and a Custom Immunohistochemistry Sample Processing Form (IHC-SPF-01) instructs us how to proceed.

To maximize the prospects of success, it is critical that we receive as much information about the probing antibody as possible if this is to be supplied by the client. A copy of the Antibody Data Sheet from the commercial vendor should be provided if available. Clients must also fill in the requested information in our Client-Supplied Antibody Description Form IHC-CADF-1.

It is highly recommended that positive control tissues are used for our IHC analyses. In the case of our IHC protocol development service, our experienced staff will carry out a full literature search to find the ideal control tissue(s) to be used for the optimization process. In the case of our standard IHC service, it is up to the client’s discretion to either provide or request for a specific positive control tissue. Following IHC staining, all slides are inspected by our strict Quality Control Unit to ensure all staining criteria are met. Stained slides can then be returned to the client along with digital imaging of the slides.

Preparation of Tissues

If tissue sections are supplied by a client for our standard IHC Services, the preparation of the tissue must be in accordance to the specific staining conditions of the antibody to be used. For example, some antibodies are only reactive to tissue sections prepared via frozen (cryo) techniques due to specific preservation of the antigen. Alternatively, fixation techniques may also impact the preservation requirements of the antigen. If tissue sections are provided by Kinexus, the client must specify whether the antibody that they are supplying is specifically reactive to frozen- (cryo) or paraffin-prepared tissue only, as well as appropriate fixation techniques. If the antibody is supplied by Kinexus, we will endeavor to determine whether the antibody is suitable for cryo- or paraffin-prepared tissues. We expect in some cases that this information may not initially be known and the IHC Optimization Protocol Service may be necessary.

If tissue sections are supplied by the client for our IHC Optimization Protocol Service, we will consult with the client whether any potential conflicts may arise from the preparation of the tissue based on the commercial Antibody Data Sheet and the provided Client-Supplied Antibody Description Form IHC-CADF-1. For example, the antibody may only be reactive to tissue sections prepared via frozen (cryo) techniques or specific fixation techniques for proper preservation of the antigen. If tissue sections are supplied by Kinexus, we will use the ideal tissue preparation conditions to achieve optimal IHC staining.

Please note that we cannot guarantee IHC results as the protein(s) of interest may not be present in the tissue(s) of interest. In addition, a positive result from Western blot analysis may not necessarily produce a positive result in IHC due to their inherent differences. In Western blotting, the epitope is readily available in the denatured protein, while IHC may rely on an exposed epitope in the native protein.

If our IHC Optimization Protocol Service is being used with client-supplied slides, a minimum of 20 slides should be sent to Kinexus. At least 5 positive control slides should also be provided. We will return any unused slides provided by our clients unless they indicate otherwise.

To inform us precisely which of the IHC Services that you wish to use from Kinexus, you must complete a Service Order Form (IHC-SOF-01). Filing out this form will provide an estimate of the total costs of the various work that you would like Kinexus to perform and gives us your contact and billing information. You must also complete a Custom Immunohistochemistry Sample Processing Form (IHC-SPF-01). If you require more than 10 slides to be stained, then please use additional copies of this form.

To ensure that your tissue and antibody samples are processed properly, it is necessary to complete either the Confidential (IHC-CSDF-01) or Non-Confidential (IHC-NSDF-01) Sample Description Form as appropriate. If you are supplying the probing antibody, then please also complete the Client-Supplied Antibody Description Form (IHC-CADF-1). These and any other relevant forms should be included with the samples sent to Kinexus for analyses. More information about the various forms that need to be completed is provided in our customer information package for these services.

Basic Shipping Information

Note that the courier costs of shipping antibodies and tissue specimens to Kinexus for our IHC services must be borne by the client. The sample vials and all completed forms should be sent to the address listed below. The samples of tissues and antibodies may be shipped at room temperature if the tissue specimens are paraffin-embedded or already section on glass slides. Frozen tissue samples should be shipped on dry ice. We recommend shipping through Federal Express Courier. However, for dry ice shipments coming from outside of North America, the preferred choice is World Courier. Ship your samples to the following address:

Immunohistochemistry Services
Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation
Suite 1, 8755 Ash Street
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6P 6T3
Telephone: (604) 323-2547
Facsimile: (604) 323-2548

Please ensure 3 copies of a signed commercial invoice accompany your shipment which specifies your samples are non hazardous and non infectious. Three different commercial invoice templates are supplied in our customer information package for these services, and these should be used depending on whether the samples are being sent as paraffin-embedded, sectioned on glass slides or frozen tissues. Since the samples are not for resale, the value of your shipment should be priced at approximately $1.00 per sample. It is also highly recommended that customers email their Federal Express airway bill number and the date of departure to so we can track your shipment in transit and ensure it arrives in a timely manner. We will send a confirmation email once your shipment arrives at our facility.